03 January 2017

2016 is OVER


Hmmm...  2016 was quite honestly a very long year for me. Not in negative way either - the year was great!
Maybe I'm not old enough yet, but time doesn't necessarily fly by for me like everyone else says it does. It seems like ages since my nephew was born last February. It seems just as long ago since I went to Hawaii in April. Visiting West Virginia in September could have a least been a year ago... ;P Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but this past year was very full and very different.

I have a video to share. Nothing extraordinary or crazy... Well, maybe it is crazy, maybe I am crazy. ;)
Click here... 2016 Countdown
And some random pictures that I pulled out of my archive as I was going through pictures recently. :D


Many lovely evenings spent on this bike :)


February in Oklahoma


Flight to Hawaii - April



Rainbow Falls, Hawaii



hiking the dessert in South Point, Hawaii


Green Sands, Hawaii


June - Sunday afternoon in Joplin


Fourth of July at my Aunt's house :)


West Virginia - September


Christmas Eve hike at home :)


Took a silhouette of my father taking a silhouette. ;)



May this new year be a delightful one for everyone :)
-MarLeahJoy


24 December 2016

Pre-Christmas Update


Well folks... we're getting closer! ;)

"Christmas, Christmas time is near,
Time for toys and time for cheer.
We've been good, but we can't last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast."

Hehe, okay, that's not exactly my thoughts on Christmas, but that's the song that has been popping into my head lately.

This afternoon we got my parents and my siblings together on Skype to open some presents that we had sent each other. :D Yay! And I can't wait to Skype with Pintip from Thailand who stayed with us back in 2009 :) She sends us a huge package every year for Christmas, so we are going to open it with her on Skype this year. :)




Marvin and Ranelle got Daddy some California raisins packaged off his Uncle's farm. :) 



This gift from all of us to Momma is really the reason I wanted to Skype to open presents ;) 
Because Momma has this old mixer that she got as a wedding gift that STILL WORKS.  She's been waiting for it to quit working so she could get a pretty cobalt blue KitchenAid... We decided it was time to get her one anyway, even though the old one is still working quite well. :)



Merry Christmas Eve from our family in California, Missouri, and West Virginia :)

-MarLeahJoy




23 December 2016

Christmas Update


I've never had to "process" Christmas before like I have this year. It hasn't been a bad thing at all, but honestly in some ways it feels like Christmas is over since I've already celebrated with our extended family and with Tyrel. I keep reminding myself that Christmas is INDEED still coming up and that I should get the move-on with getting my presents wrapped. 

Also, not having any siblings home for Christmas has made me stop, think, and remind myself to focus on what we are doing here in this season. I can't just carry on and blend in with the traditions of Christmas like every other year, so I've been challenged in a few areas of giving my time and giving joy. 

I also had a "rude" reminder today that Christmas is near because people are rushing around and getting grumpy when things aren't going so fast. Most of our customers were actually pretty good today even though we were obviously busy with it being the last day open just before Christmas. But one rotten customer reminded me to keep my spirit up and not let the stress of things during Christmas rush to get me upset. I was at work, needing to leave to go to lunch, and buy some wrapping paper so I could go home and wrap up presents for my parents. Yet, I was stuck with a malfunctioning encoder, so I couldn't make out a money order for this increasingly impatient lady I was helping. Even with my back turned I could feel her eyes glaring at me for taking so long. 🙄 After a phone call from her equally put-out husband, he came inside and declared they would just go take their business elsewhere. 
So with that "happy" feeling 😬 I left for lunch and was about to go the store to pick up wrapping paper. I could imagine that the store would be busy, and the overflowing parking lot confirmed that assumption. So I decided before I went in, that I was NOT going to think about my grumpy customer I just waited on, but I was going to do my best to not be upset with people that may be "wasting" my time 😝

Hehe, the trip to the store was less trying than it could have been, and I made it home in time to wrap my gifts. As I was wrapping, I placed the finished gifts on my new hope chest... and ohhh they looked so cute and "matchy" up there. 😄
Plus, I like any extra reason to admire the chest Tyrel made me for Christmas. 😍

Isn't it just sooo pwetty!?!? ☺️




-MarLeahJoy

18 December 2016

Love Times Four


November 12th 2016 <3

My super fun, extremely sweet, and very bubbly Heather dear got married. ☺️😍

Her wedding made me a bridesmaid for the fourth time this year.
It also brought Tyrel and I together for the fourth time since we'd been dating. 
And when you're dating long-distance, those "mutual friend weddings" are kinda a big blessing. ;) Hehe

On the wedding day, it was easier to carry around my phone, so I took an overall video of the day... though I could kick myself for not giving my phone to someone during the wedding to take a few videos for me. So I've got everything but that! ;P Hahaha!

Here's the video: Kevin and Heather



Rehearsal night :)







Heather and Laura... just too cute! 





Heather and Makenna

It was fun getting to see M for the first time! I had heard lots about their weekly trips to Chick-fil-A. ;) ;) Such a cute, fun girl. :)

-MarLeahJoy

17 December 2016

Ranelle Kayleene


Flashback to Wednesday October 19th :)

This day was kinda crazy. No, actually the week was a little bit crazy. ;P Saturday, the day of Ranelle's wedding was quickly approaching and things just weren't exactly going in the order planned. 
We were going to take pictures of Ranelle with her two favorite sisters ;) on Monday evening. That didn't happen. And none of that happened on Tuesday either. 
Well, on Wednesday, before I left for work, I laid out my camera gear for Alyssa to use to take a few bridal pictures of Ranelle by the big bay window in the room that used to be hers. :)
I got a few calls at work from my stressed out family saying that my gear wasn't cooperating for them. It was a slow day at work, so I came home to find out that a wire in my flash transmitter had come loose, so nope, it wasn't going to cooperate. 
I went back to work and left it up to the tired bride-to-be and Alyssa to figure out. And Alyssa worked some magic with the natural lighting. :)











I'm still so happy for Ranelle, that she found the love of her life. :)

-MarLeahJoy


Fall Leaves

Flashback to Saturday, November 5th 

These are my favorite days. 
Spent outside with the cats pouncing on the pile of weeds you keep adding to.
The dog looking a little lazy and melancholy, but taking serious his job of guarding the place.
Sweeping leaves off the patio for the one-hundred and millionth time. 






We've been working on trying to make this hillside a little more manageable to maintain. So right now we are pulling weeds and hoping to plant some evergreens soon. :)


Normally I get a little mad at things if they immediately "mess themselves up" right after you fix it. You know... those things like the kitchen, that no matter how much you clean it, it's back to being messy in a few seconds. 
Andddd leaves... they kinda never end. But this Fall, it was almost like my favorite thing to do in my free time to keep the patio swept up. It kinda makes me feel a little old man that comes into the bank to exchange penny rolls for different ones - looking for old wheat pennies. Taking joy out of something that is redundant and fairly fruitless. 😂




-MarLeahJoy

Always Remembering


Here I am playing catch-up on blogging. :)
I don't mind admitting that I'm behind, because I like to document everything. Sooooo why not document why I'm behind...? :P

I'm mostly writing this for the older "me" to come back and see and remember what it was like at this time. I can't ever decided how much I want to share about my life on here, but I used to share everything, soooo again I say, "why not!" ;)

 So to explain or excuse my procrastination here, I have to say it is quite simply because I don't "need" to share as much on here as I used to. When I started out this blog, I was sharing photography because I wanted to build a "following". Which was a young and naive hope at the time because I had a lot to learn, but people were supportive, so I continued. Then I really wanted to take portraits for a steady income, but that was time-intensive and scary. I still pursued it for a long time, but even then I could tell that I really loved sharing stories more than portraits of people. I remember staying up late editing pictures and excitedly sharing blog posts from different events like a camping or skiing trip. What I wanted most was for someone to see my life and these little short stories I told, and be truly interested in them. Maybe more importantly, to be interested in me!  (Though I NEVER would have admitted that!) Hehe, so at this time in my life, talking with Tyrel has most definitely taken that place.... well, at least he acts interested in my silly stories and pictures that I share with him. 😁😂😉
So, I never would have thought I would not be blogging so much just because I  have a boyfriend... but it all kinda makes sense now looking back over my lack of blogging now. Haha!

Now back to some major catching up... 


Our Nanna has been gone for 6 years now, but just the other morning I woke up in the middle of a dream about her. I was sitting beside her and I looked over and asked her if she had ever missed someone so much as I miss her. I began explaining to her how she got really sick and almost died, then suddenly realized that she had already passed away. I just started to sob in my dream. I woke up crying and the whole sad reality of the dream washed over me.
We always celebrated a lot of moments in life with her, and we still try to get together with the Adams on the special holidays that used to be spent at Nanna's house. 

This year the Adams came over to our house for Mother's day. Honestly, I don't remember anything that we did besides getting really stuffed and then trying to run up the hill after being full.  Hahaha!






Yep, trying to make it up the hill after feasting on lunch... 


One thing that Ranelle has always tried to get us to do while she was at home was to volunteer places and do things for other people on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We did occasionally, but now that all our family is more scattered and married (and without having Nanna's house to go to) it's a little more natural to spend time doing things for others than being exclusively with family. 
So this year for Thanksgiving, Momma baked lots and lots of sweet breads and we packaged them up with a christian tract. My parents and I went and distributed them on Thanksgiving morning to a community that my parents had a burden for. 
I really, really enjoyed doing that! :)



We came back home and had the Adams over for our Thanksgiving meal with what children are still left and able to come. If I think about it too much, it's really sad to be missing so many at our family gatherings. But such is life, ever changing.




We had ham and fried cornmeal mush with sorghum because it was definitely a "Nanna" dish, though it's not something we normally would have had for Thanksgiving.


This Christmas was yet another set of faces gathered together at the Adams. We were missing those that were sick and those that were miles away on the east and west coast, but I have to say I was just very happy to have Tyrel there. :)



-MarLeahJoy